Man charged in Alaska cold case drops extradition fight
AUBURN, Maine (AP) — A Maine man is no longer fighting extradition to Alaska to face charges that he raped and killed a woman there more than 25 years ago.
Steven Downs of Auburn is charged with assault and murder in the death of 20-year-old Sophie Sergie at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1993. The Sun Journal reports Downs has withdrawn a petition contesting extradition.
Downs’ lawyer, James Howaniec, says Downs maintains his innocence, and will fight the case in Alaska.
Downs’ parents hired Fairbanks attorney Frank Spaulding to assist Howaniec. Spaulding told Fairbanks TV station KTVF Downs will return to Alaska in about 10 days.
Downs was a student and Sergie was a former student at the time of Sergie’s death. The case went unsolved for years before DNA evidence led to Downs’ arrest in February.